Author: Bill Thomas
Could a global pandemic be the best chance traditional brick & mortar retailers have in a world ruled by E-commerce?
With stores shuttered and consumers confined to their keyboards, a parade of box trucks has been the only lifeline to America’s consumerism. The experience goes something like this: shopper checks out - confirmation received - truck arrives - dog barks - box opens - contents match packing slip - order fulfilled.
But wait... something’s missing.
The fulfillment we seek isn’t found in a sequence of logistics mapped in a wireframe. We humans are hardwired to inform our decisions through our senses - sight, touch, smell, sound and taste. There’s no App for that. The hidden price we pay for the convenience of shopping on-line is the emotional cost of being cut out of the deal.
About that packing slip that bribes you to take a customer survey, it’s no match for a sincere ‘thank you’ from a store owner and the satisfaction you get for supporting the vitality of your community.
As America reopens, consumers will be seeking something Amazon can’t deliver - a personal connection to their brands and community.
Notice to store owners - now is the time to pull every address, email, phone number and digital marketing algorithm. Connect with each and every customer in a uniquely special way. Don’t ask them for their business (too self motivated), don’t guilt them into supporting you (too hat-in-hand), just invite them to be human again. For one golden moment, your most valuable product isn’t displayed on a shelf or hanging from a rack.
Let’s hope this opportunity doesn’t come again.